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I-1183: Opponents’ ads confuse the issue

Letter by Pablo Monroy, Tacoma on Oct. 19, 2011 at 12:08 pm with 45 Comments »
October 19, 2011 1:51 pm

Re: “TV ads for private booze initiative confuse more than inform” (Peter Callaghan column, 10-18).

The Initiative 1183 ads show how one could blend vagueness and exaggeration in 30 seconds. I would even go as far as the ads making fun of the voter by bringing out a great point and overshadowing it with cheesy music and flashy cop lights.

Case in point, one “No on 1183” ad points out in big bold letters that “1 in 4 mini-marts sell to minors” and I-1183 will allow “almost 1,000 mini-marts” to sell hard alcohol. Other than completely exaggerating the numbers, the ad leaves enough vagueness to let the voter come to the conclusion that minors will have more access to hard alcohol.

I don’t quite understand why the opponents are pointing out that the Liquor Control Board isn’t doing its job effectively and at the same time asking voters to keep the LCB selling alcohol instead of utilizing the resources for more enforcement.

Is keeping the status quo of one in four mini-marts selling beer to minors the point of these ads? Cue flashy lights before questions are asked.

Another “No on 1183” ad has a small business owner talking about higher taxes. The ad plays for 30 seconds without using the word “liquor.” Do the opponents assume the viewer knows what they’re talking about?

Callaghan’s column hit the nail on the head. The ads confuse more than they inform.

Leave a comment Comments → 45
  1. SadujTogracse says:

    No matter how one is voting for initiative 1183 (as a side, everyone should be voting yes because it is a win-win), you should never base your vote on 30 second TV ads. They are the most misleading and deceptive form of “information”.

  2. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    The positives of this measure so far outweigh the negatives that not to pass it really does insure that we’re just going to see it again and again until we finally wise up. We’ve all seen how clumsy and balky Olympia is and how little common sense is employed in addressing our problems. Do we really want to give BIG jobs – like the running, staffing, brokering, distribution, AND enforcement of liquor in Washington – to people who perform their basic tasks this badly? Enforcement is a big enough job. Let’s let the state do what states do best: make laws and see that we abide by them.

  3. Pablo….

    Don’t depend on 30 second spots. Instead….


    take a look at what taxpayers stand to lose when we hand the 28% markup over to retail businesses.

  4. “Do we really want to give BIG jobs – like the running, staffing, brokering, distribution, AND enforcement of liquor in Washington – to people who perform their basic tasks this badly?”

    So badly they put $425 million a year into the state’s revenue.

    Nothing like false and misleading information, huh?

  5. Harry_Anslinger says:

    @taxedenoughinTacoma: you typed “the positives of this measure so far outweigh the negatives”…which is a totally empty statement without referencing what ‘positives’ you are referring to and for whom?
    That is my question: who most benefits from a passage of 1183…alcohol companies/distributors or taxpayers(i.e. are we giving up state revenue as profits to the alcohol industry)? Even having read the voter’s guide language I’m still not sold on I-1183 being anything but a private play for wresting control of alcohol distribution under the guise of consumer ‘convenience’. Initiatives have serious consequences, some of them not obvious, so I’d like taxedenough to please share what you actually weighed that is so amazingly obvious I should ‘wise up’? I’m just trying to make an informed decision.

  6. Harry_Anslinger says:

    AND…bonus question…why is the state still wasting important financial and manpower resources on the failed policy of cannabis prohibition? Remember how successful alcohol prohibition was? Hmmm…maybe it’s time to actually ‘wise up’ about our wasteful absurd propagandized attitudes and approach to a plant that even non-pot smokers like myself are seeing as silly and very “1930’s”.

  7. Thanks, Harry

  8. sorry KARDNOS – government running a monopoly over a business endeavor may be profitable but it is also fascist.

  9. beerBoy….I’ll live with the fine print.

  10. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Plus, all you kooks want to do is save union jobs. Well taxpayers are tired of supporting these NON PRODUCERS.

  11. Dave98373 says:

    I laugh when I hear this debate. Liquor is being served all the time to minors in our bars and restaurants every day. Moreover, it is being overserved many times to all of its patrons (21 or not). So the question shouldn’t be about how good the state of Washington plays its role as morality police or even its lack of enforcement in existing establishments. The question should be is it better for the state to keep a fews jobs and maintain its so-called “control” of booze or let big box stores (with its legal requirement to have the correct square footage in order to peddle a fifth of Jack)have a monopoly on the market? I am in favor of taking away the state’s right to sell booze…just not in favor of letting only a select few have a monopoly on it.

  12. Taxed shows true colors.

    Yes….Taxed….I’d like to save jobs also. We have enough economic problems, much less handing over the profits to retailers and cutting more jobs.

  13. alindasue says:

    Dave98373 said, “…with its legal requirement to have the correct square footage in order to peddle a fifth of Jack…”

    The “correct square footage” is 10,000 square feet.

    For the sake of comparison, the average Safeway store is about 46,000 sq. ft. The new 7-elevens being built are approximately 2,800 sq. ft. The old self-contained building 7-eleven at the end of my street seems to be about 3 times the size of the new ones.

    That means most grocery stores (who are properly licensed and demonstrate an ability to safely sell alcohol) would be able to sell liquor. Most convenience stores will not.

    Anyhow, I just finished reading the complete 60 page I-1183 document. Here’s a few things I learned:

    The 10,000 sq. ft. requirement can be waived if there are no other local stores selling liquor and if it is not determined that it is not in the public good that a facility selling liquor be in that area.

    Licenses to sell beer and wine are two separate licenses. A license to sell liquor would also be a separate license with its corresponding separate fees. On top of the license fees, stores selling liquor would have to pay 10% of their total liquor revenues for the first 10 years and 5% every year after that.

    All the current taxes levied on liquor are still to be levied with money going to the general fund, as before.

    Stores selling liquor must display it in a manor at least as secure as that in the current liquor board stores.

    All employees selling or handling liquor are required to go through special training and certification every five years. Fines for selling liquor to minors are to be doubled.

    Now I don’t drink alcohol and have no cause to buy it, so it doesn’t affect me either way where people buy the stuff. However, I do like the idea of the liquor control board getting out of the business of running a retail monopoly and devoting its resources to actually doing its job as a regulatory body.

    (KARDNOS, before you reply, please wait for my next post directed at you. Thanks.)

  14. alindasue says:


    You keep stating that the liquor control board stores add $425 million to the state budget. What I want to know, so I can compare it to the revenue called for in I-1186, is just how much of that $425 million that is added to the general fund is from taxes that will still be levied if I-1186 takes effect? Can you, please, cite the source of your information?

  15. alindasue says:

    I said earlier, “Stores selling liquor must display it in a manor at least as secure as that in the current liquor board stores.”

    No, I did not mean that liquor would have to be displayed in big fancy houses. The word should be “manner”. Sorry for the mistake.

    By the way, beerBoy,

    With all the comments going around with words like socialist, communist, fascist, Marxist, etc. flying around like so many insults without any attention paid to the actual meaning of those words, it was refreshing to see someone actually use the word “fascist” in its proper context for once.

  16. alindasue says:

    Ack! No matter how much I proofread, I still make mistakes!

    “On top of the license fees, stores selling liquor would have to pay 10% of their total liquor revenues for the first 10 years and 5% every year after that.”

    That should be 10% the first 2 (two) years and 5% after that.

  17. alindasue – in answer to your question…..bear with me…

    First….the $425 million figure is for those that say the WSLCB is “stupid, worthless, inefficient” and what other terms they can come up with.

    Next…the real loss will be the 28% markup, which equates to hundreds of millions all by itself.

    The source of my information is the WSLCB website annual report for 2010. “Alabama George” did a fantastic analysis of it……I’ll look it up and paste it for you……

  18. alindasue….here goes….

    AlabamaGeorge says:
    Oct. 17, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Mr. Saduj Togracse –

    Since you persist in this message, I took the time to look up some things on the Liquor Board website. From their annual report:

    Gross Revenue – $877.77 million

    Markup – 28% this is the gross profit after purchase/from selling

    Gross Profit – $245.78 million, money that the state will not see if not in the sales business.

    Cost of retail operations – $86.61 million.

    Net profits lost, after deducting cost of retail – $159.16 million

    On Saturday, you claimed that the OFM said there could be an increase of up to $42 million in 6 years if privatization takes place. Did they explain how they will make up the loss of nearly $160,000,000 per year before increasing revenue by $42,000,000? The math just doesn’t seem to compute. It would seem that we taxpayers stand to lose $1,470,000,000, as opposed to gaining $42,000,000. This is providing that unit sales do not increase or decrease substantially.

    alindasue…the key element is what I boldfaced.

  19. Since we have people trying to cut programs to needy citizens, I just don’t see where we can afford to hand over $159 million to retailers.

    I tastes like oil company subsidies to me…

  20. alindasue….to conclude this portion….

    The money that the pro-1183 campaign quotes is a PROJECTION 6 years into the future.

    You’re a smart woman, so I’ll submit this.

    You have $159 million, but if you give me that….I’ll promise you an additional $42 million in 6 years. No guarantees, just trust me…

    Sound good?

  21. Oh…I left off that the $159 million is ANNUAL…thus you have to remember you are really giving me $1.4 billion…to get possibly $42 million 6 years from now….

  22. alindasue says:

    KARDNOS said, “Net profits lost, after deducting cost of retail – $159.16 million”

    Ah, that figure explains a lot!

    At the bottom of page 13 of the document, is a section that says:

    “By March 31, 2013, all persons holding spirits distributor
    licenses on or before March 31, 2013, must have paid collectively one
    hundred fifty million dollars or more in spirits distributor license
    fees. If the collective payment through March 31, 2013, totals less
    than one hundred fifty million dollars, the board must, according to
    rules adopted by the board for the purpose, collect by May 31, 2013, as
    additional spirits distributor license fees the difference between one
    hundred fifty million dollars and the actual receipts, allocated among
    persons holding spirits distributor licenses at any time on or before”

    I was wondering why that was there.

    Apparently, the intent is to make up the difference in “net profits” lost through the collection of annual license fees and the additional 10%/5% levied.

    Will it continue to top $150 million after the first year? Hard to say. Retail, state or privately owned, is a tricky business – but it looks like it should continue to come close.

    I’m not seeing the 6 year gap that you are. I don’t know what sites you are looking at, but what I’m seeing in the actual wording of the initiative is the revenue starting to come in in just a few months from now. I’m just not seeing the problems that you are.

    Stricter enforcement of liquor sales rules, a liquor control board that can focus more of its energies on enforcement, loss of a monopoly, and no significant loss in net revenue… it really does seem like a win/win situation to me.

  23. the 6 year “gap” was quoted by the Seattle Times in an editorial. Their source allegedly was OFM and a non-profit that Costco retained for a study.

    It’s a ‘win-win’ if you don’t consider all the data….

    Why did our state get in the position of eliminating such a profit maker as liquor sales, when we are supposedly floundering and need to cut programs for taxpayers?

    This looks like step one in a Conservative Plan to eliminate good paying jobs in our state…in a department that is more than self sufficient. Take away those jobs, and sales tax revenue dips AGAIN and the Right Wing Sound Machine can tell us how much we are failing….

    and over and over and over and over…..

    Get ready….they’ll take on the Lottery next, because it’s self sufficient…then Department of Licensing…oh wait…Eyman already did that….

    When there is nothing left….then attack the Unions for breaking the State.

  24. “By March 31, 2013, all persons holding spirits distributor
    licenses on or before March 31, 2013, must have paid collectively one
    hundred fifty million dollars or more in spirits distributor license

    So…if the big players in the game don’t pony up enough license fees, then we just need more liquor sales outlets….

    Now…didn’t the anti-1183 people say the sales outlets would increase?

    Aside from that….Why would Costco want to pay for a license that doesn’t provide adequate profits? or Freddie…or Safeway?

    These people know where the goose AND the golden egg is located.

  25. alindasue says:


    Of course, they consider it in their best interests for I-1125 to pass. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have bothered to sponsor it. Costco will make profit from selling liquor, as would Fred Meyer or Safeway. Separate liquor stores cost money to run, just like any other store. Under I-1125, the state would still be bringing in about the same amount of money.

    Read that section of the initiative I quoted again. It doesn’t say we need more liquor sales and distribution outlets to make up the difference. It says the existing stores would be proportionately charged a portion of the difference. Better yet, just read the whole initiative.


    Of course, sales outlets will increase. The profits would be spread around between the different stores rather than just at one chain of state run stores. That doesn’t make alcohol any more accessible to those who shouldn’t buy it. In fact, requirements for establishments selling or distributing alcohol are more strict under I-1125 and penalties for non-compliance are higher.

    As for the Lotto… don’t get me started. I have major issues with the state forbidding most types of gambling on one hand while constantly adding new state lotto games on the other… either gambling is a problem or it isn’t.

  26. MadTaxpayer says:

    Get rid of the WSLCB, drop the outrageous liquor taxes and let me buy what I want!
    Let me choose where I want to buy my booze.
    When I go to California, it is everywhere. I do not see any issues with that!

  27. I dont know what the big deal is. Washington is well in the minority when it comes to selling alcohol privately. The rest of the country doesn’t seem to have any greater youth booze issues than we do. And the simple fact that government, State or otherwise, has no business running businesses.

  28. commoncents says:

    so Mad—you’re voting no then right? As the liquor taxes will not drop at all. The licensing fees will make up for any lost revenue to the state which ensures that there will be a markup on the booze of at least 28%. The state will still choose which outlets can sell the booze. And, as a result of all this…your alcohol will not be any cheaper. And if you believe any of this then I’ve got a bridge to sell you. And, which is exactly why I’m voting no.

  29. “rest of the country”….hmmmm…..

    I wonder why that argument is supposed to work here…but…

    When someone says “the rest of the civilized world has nationalized health care”….the argument is no longer valid to the same people.

  30. Mad….I guess you are not aware that there is an income tax in California…..

    It sort of makes up the difference…except people like me, that don’t drink pay taxes so that you drinkers can have cheap booze.

  31. It sort of makes up the difference…except people like me, that don’t drink pay taxes so that you drinkers can have cheap booze.

    Wow…..you just made it the civic duty of Washingtonians to buy alcohol! And, you pointed out how the State has a direct conflict of interest in profiting in the sales of an item it supposedly is in the business of controlling.

    You also pointed out that you don’t pay your fair share of taxes due to the vice taxes (do you make up for it with Lotto tickets?)

    But, even more enjoyable, you just made the same argument that folks without kids make against school bonds “I don’t have kids, why should I pay for them?”

  32. Except, of course, the fact that getting the State out of the retail business would not, in any way, be subsidizing alcohol sales. The state still would be getting their cut via taxes – they just couldn’t double dip and get a profit from the sales.

    Breaking up the State’s monopoly is somehow equivalent to subsidizing cheap booze…..I’m thinking you are even more proficient at sophistry than aislander.

  33. stumpy567 says:

    All I know is all this bickering makes me want a cocktail.
    I don’t drink spirits that often but I would much rather purchase at a retail store than the State Run Monopoly stores.
    I once asked if they could order a peticular liqour for me
    (a popular item that they don’t see fit to stock any more)
    Their reply: Sure we can if you want a case of it. We can not order by the bottle. That’s great service.
    Kardnos, You seem to know everything. Just where are the funds collected from the stats sale of liquor going to, besides perpetuating their own existence.

  34. stumpy567 says:

    If you want the facts read the Voter’s pamplet page 20 Fiscal impact statement.

    Estimated General Fund revenue increase 27 million.
    Estimated local revenue iincrease 41 million.
    One time net revenue gain from sale of dist. center 36.4 million.

    Don’t be fooled by all those who want nothing more than to perpetuate all the reckless spending and taxation in this state.

  35. “Kardnos, You seem to know everything. Just where are the funds collected from the stats sale of liquor going to, besides perpetuating their own existence.”

    Stumpy…..I could post the WSLCB’s website again…but you probably think it’s a communist plot. Unlike my counters on the Conservative side, I usually prefer to look stuff up on the internet as opposed to pulling it from my……

    On the website they even provide links to funding on a county basis. Try to get that when Costco reaps the profits.

  36. beerBoy….you read my sarcasm perfectly….

  37. The nice part about taking exerpts from a voter’s pamphlet…

    “The sponsors of this measure say it increases government revenue but they do it by creating a new 27% tax”

    Page 20 is the initiative language…written by guess who….

  38. daggercat says:

    Beerboy, I am confused as why you consider it a conflict of interest for our state to profit from AND control alcohol. Alcohol seems to be one of those vices that if not controlled, has the potential to costs the citizens of this state a lot of taxpayer dollars. There is nothing wrong with the state using these profits to fund programs. I’ll tell you another reason I don’t care to see an increase in the number of stores. My neighbor, who I care deeply about, was a fall down drunk who used to show up on my doorstep bleeding whenever he put his hand through the window or had a seizure from alcohol abuse. He has been sober for a number of years now, but it was too late for his liver. He is on disability and the state is paying for the treatments associated with trying to keep him alive while his liver slowly fails, and you want alcohol more available? I have more personal stories, but these are only a small part of why I encourage a NO vote on 1183. And this is a postI made on another thread as a reply to a comment from taxedenough. It din’t belong on that thread, but I would like this opinion considered by anyone who is fence sitting! I find it refreshing to converse with someone who can state their opinions intelligently and with civility. Thank you. That said, ah the caveat!, did you see the Tacoma News Tribune editorial staff has now chosen to endorse NO on 1183. As I stated in another post, this initiative reminds me of the folly of mandating increases on the minimum wage. Should this initiative pass, I’m pretty sure we will see negative consequences down the road and be smacking ourselves upside the head with a big DUH!! what did you think would happen! Besides the immediate negative effects of job losses etc… I still think this is being shoved down our throats before business leaders and politicians have time to study all the potentials, good and bad. And I firmly believe the citizens of Washington State are the ones to decide how to market alcohol, not Costco. We may not like the state being in the alcohol business, but the model works for our state. It would take time to decide how to dismantle this system so it is right for Washington State, and this initiative does not allow for that time.

  39. Daggercat….anyone that sells liquor by the drink stands to make more money IF….the cost of liquor actually goes down.

    It will be a cold day in hell when a bar lowers the price of a drink. There is no incentive to do such

  40. daggercat – I’m confused why you are confused.

    btw. Try your return key between paragraphs. It makes it much more inviting to read long posts.

  41. It will be a cold day in hell when a bar lowers the price of a drink. There is no incentive to do such

    They already do lower the price of drinks – Happy Hour. They do it to increase sales and therefore increase profit – that is what is known as incentive.

  42. beerBoy….what’s the happy hour price on premium pours?

    You’ll have to pardon me….I gave up happy hour about 23 years ago. I’m still trying to figure out why a bar would lower their prices all day long when they don’t have to….

  43. KARDNOS – don’t really know about the prices. (However, I imagine most don’t discount call drinks only the really cheap stuff) Don’t go to bars. Used to go to the Swiss when I was in Tacoma – it is a great pub – sandwich and a pint. I do wish we had a decent pub here in SE Idaho…. Oh well, there is always my homebrew.

    Back when I was a starving artist in SF we would go to the bars in the Financial District for Happy Hour – order a cheap beer (This was before I was a brewer and beer snob) and then eat their savory snacks for dinner. I also used to go to the cheap salad bar places for lunch (this was before they wised up and started to do it by weight) – I would extend the bowl with strategically placing carrot sticks and cucumber slices and more than double how much I could get. I’m sure they hated me.

  44. beerBoy…I think the point I’m really trying to make is that a bar has fixed overhead and just because the price of booze drops, I can’t see them lowering their selling price…other than a promotional time, which you pointed out. If anything the lower prices of booze becomes an additional profit.

  45. daggercat says:

    Beerboy, sorry about the long post. I added a post i had inadvertently put on another thread. As I stated above, I was wondering why you consider it a conflict of interest for the state to control all aspects of hard alcohol sales. Btw, did I see you don’t live in Washington? If you live in Idaho, why are you trying to influence our politics? And Kardnos, I think if hard alcohol does drop in price if the market is opened up, that will only be temporary, until retailers start charging what the market will bear, and they find they have to charge more so they can pay the collective $150,000,000 in licensing fees. If they end up having to make up a tax shortfall they are not going to take any increase in that fee out of thier profits.

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